EHF Convention was “perfect to exchange ideas and knowledge”

EHF / Björn Pazen

Fruitful discussion, intense exchange of ideas and knowledge, a huge step ahead for refereeing across Europe: the first EHF Convention for Heads of Refereeing since 2005, last weekend in Vienna, has become a success the European Handball Federation and the representatives of 38 member federations taking part.

“It was truly productive for all of us,” said George Bebetsos, coordinator of the EHF Referee Programme.

“One major result was that we wanted to know how we can help the Heads of Refereeing all over Europe. The situation in countries is different, but we got many responses on our question, what they want from us.”

In a very inspirational speech, EHF Head of Competitions Markus Glaser explained what the European Handball Federation expects from the national Heads of Refereeing.

Also, a major topic on the packed agenda was the presentation of updates to the IHF Rules of the Game by Per Morten Södal, the new Chairman of the IHF Playing Rules and Referee Commission.

“He gave a very detailed view on the changes themselves and on the background why those rules have been changed and adapted, followed by an intense discussion,” Bebetsos said.

Bebetsos praised the excellent cooperation between IHF and EHF in terms of refereeing, also shown in some decisions taken at the convention. IHF and EHF will use the same technology to support the decisions of referees and delegates, for example the video replay.

“All national federations who want to use video replay in the future are obliged to follow those new rules, how and when to use it,” says Bebetsos.

Besides, the IHF will integrate the mental training for referees in their preparation for major events, which has been used by the EHF since a long time.

In terms of referee preparations, EHF TRC chairman Dragan Nachevski gave in-depth view on how the EHF will get their referees ready for the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 and what the EHF expects from the national federation in terms of support. In this matter, Sergi Cedrun (FitGood Pro) showed the ways and the importance of physical preparations for top-class referees.

Several presentations focused on the use of technologies – which became a core part of the discussion among the participants later. How far shall handball go in using technologies? What is useful?

Earlier, EHF TRC members Oyvind Togstad (Norway) and Jutta Ehrmann-Wolf (Germany) presented the status of refereeing inside a national federation, with different topics. Ehrmann-Wolf, for instance, spoke about the programme for women top referees in Germany.

“The Convention was perfect for an exchange and to get new ideas for your daily work as a Heads of Refereeing in a national federation. It is elementary to have these meetings on a regular basis to learn from the best practice examples from different countries,” Ehrmann-Wolf said.

“All participants got a lot of input from the presentations of Oyvind and Jutta,” Bebetsos said. “It will not be possible to copy-paste all the structures, but there were a lot of details that all federations can adapt for their work.”

Finally, match fixing was the subject of a presentation by Andrew Whittingham from EHF partner Sportradar. He spoke about how matches can be fixes, how those matches can be detected by Sportradar, and how referees can prevent such situations.

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